How many times each day do you mean to say one thing, and say another instead, because you are worried about what others might think? How often do you wake up in the morning with one idea in mind for what you want to accomplish, only to find yourself doing something else because of social pressures or personal anxieties? Do you dress the way you want to dress? Do you listen to the music you really like, or do you follow the herd? Are you working the job of your dreams, or the job of someone else’s dreams?
I feel it is harder than ever to be yourself when society want you to be mass produced. When we reflect on history, so often the big moments, good or bad, occurred because of social obedience; where people have been too afraid to speak up for what they believe in, and decide to follow the crowd. That’s how a movement is started, isn’t it? The first follower.
But no lifetime, no matter how successful, will be truly rewarding or happy if you cannot learn to love yourself and be yourself.
So, yes, I am encouraging you to be brave this month and do what feels good for you!
Yoga is about taming our mind, our subconscious mind, so that our mind becomes our servant, rather than the other way around. Maybe it is just me, but I find as we get older, we log away more experiences and these can cloud our judgment, to the point that we even lose ourselves, who we truly are. On the other hand, many find that as they get older, they reach a point, a moment, where enough is enough, and they would much rather release the chains of expectations, and be themselves.
Through yoga practice, we come to realise our habitual thought processes and we get to choose if those processes serve us well, or not. And if they don’t, then change them, get rid of them, because whilst we still hang on to those habitual masks, we will never truly honour ourselves and we may even hit burn out.
So on the your yoga mat this month, I encourage you to drop all expectations you have of yourself and your yoga practice. Allow yourself to be truly in the moment. Your teacher is just a guide, not an authority. Take the guidance of your teacher and the structure of the practice into your heart and move how it feels good for your to move. Will you move through your practice based on what your head is saying to you, or will you move from your intuition? How will your breathe? How will you rest?
Off your mat, consider these questions:
- Could you describe your strengths and weaknesses with confidence?
- When you are around others, do you ever feel strained and uncomfortable and find it hard to relax?
- Has anyone ever told you that they thought you were one way, but then when they got to know you better, realised you were another way?
- Do you ever pretend to like someone you really don’t?
- Do you ever act like you don’t care what others think, but deep down it really stings when others judge or reject you?
Awareness is everything. Don’t put pressure on yourself to change overnight, and be compassionate with yourself. Trust that if you set the goal of being more real, via the dropping of your habitual masks, you will be able to do this with time.
And it will feel great!